Michelle Obama Talks to Oprah, Quietly Refusing to Address Trump by Name


Last night on CBS, Michelle Obama sat down with Oprah amongst the Christmas decorations of the White House and had a candid conversation about the election, her husband’s legacy, and how we’re all feeling right now: “See, now we’re feeling what not having hope feels like. You know?” she said. We know, Michelle. We know. “Hope is necessary,” she continued. She spoke about having to live down the stereotypes she faced early on as an angry black women and the nasty things said and written about her: “Well, this isn’t about me — this is about the person or the people who write it,’” she said.

Finally, she addressed the reason that she and her husband are being welcoming to their successors and trying to ensure a smooth transition: “Because no matter how we felt going into it, it is important for the health of this nation that we support the commander-in-chief. Wasn’t done when my husband took office,” she said, speaking of the unprecedented level of obstruction faced by her husband, who arrived in office with a much bigger mandate than his successor has.

The interview allowed her to be more revealing, even if subtly so, than her husband can be right now. Refusing to refer to the Trumps by name, referring to our current state of hopelessness, reminding us of the awful way Barack Obama was treated when he took office: these are all subtle ways of resisting the ideology (or lack thereof) of their successors in the White House.